Why do I cough when I vape?

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As a beginning vaper you may find yourself discouraged by coughing a lot at first. If it is any reassurance, it is actually quite normal. In fact nearly 57% of surveyed vapers claimed that they coughed the first time.

Throat irritation is temporary

First, you should realize that it is highly likely that you coughed a lot the first time that you smoked a cigarette! Propylene Glycol, one of the primary ingredients in eliquid, is an irritant that you simply are not used to yet. A lot of that irritation will subside with time, but there are things you can do to alleviate it in the meantime.

Mouth-to-lung or Direct-to-lung?

Unlike traditional tobacco cigarettes, vape devices are designed around a specific puff technique. If you have a simple vape pen with a coil above 1.0Ω, it was designed for the “mouth to lung” puff style. Attempting to inhale directly to your lungs will result in unneccessary throat irritation and coughing. Likewise, a box mod with a subohm coil tank (less than 1.0Ω) is intended for “Direct to lung” vaping and will also result in unneccessary irritation and coughing if used incorrectly.

Use a different E-Juice

The ‘throat hit’ you experience is determined by two factors in your eliquid: the nicotine level, and the VG/PG ratio. Vegetable Glycerine (VG) produces more visible vapor but less “throat hit”, while Propylene Glycol (PG) produces more “throat hit” and carries more flavor. Unfortunately, some vapers have a higher sensitivity or even an allergy to Propylene Glycol. They would be best served in finding an ELiquid with a higher VG content.

Lowering the nicotine content in your EJuice will also result in a smoother vape. This is especially true if you are using a subohm device which is intended for both lower nicotine levels and higher VG ratios. If you are using a subohm device you really should be using liquids with at least 70% Vegetable Glycerine and 6mg/ml (0.6%) nicotine content or lower.

Adjust your device

If you are using an entry level vape pen, then there is not much to adjust in your device itself. Keep in mind that many “mouth to lung” vape pens can not properly wick higher VG eliquids due to the higher viscosity. You may want to try stepping up to a more customizable device. Most vape box mods allow you to adjust the wattage output or even set a temperature setting in order to fine tune your device to your liking.